Thursday, January 12, 2017

KFC China is using facial recognition tech to serve customers - but are they buying it?; Guardian, 1/11/17

Amy Hawkins Guardian; 

KFC China is using facial recognition tech to serve customers - but are they buying it?


"Of course, the prospect of a company storing data about customers’ faces and fried-chicken preferences raises the ever present trade-off between convenience and privacy. One woman tells me she wouldn’t use the machine for that reason, but most customers are nonplussed. “In China, you don’t have any privacy anyway,” said Li.

He’s right, sort of. Beyond the world of fast-food, personal data in China is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity. A Chinese newspaperrecently conducted an experiment, which found that a citizen’s private data, including apartments they’d rented and internet caf├ęs they’d visited, could be bought using their personal ID number at the cost of just 700RMB (£82). Meanwhile, the government is rolling out a “social credit” system of digitally stored information about a person’s credit history, consumption habits and incidences of “conduct that seriously undermines … the normal social order”. The system also awards points for good behaviour; a person’s point score affects their ability to travel abroad, buy property and enrol their children in certain schools, among other privileges."

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